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Memoir of the late John Heeble.
[CONTRIBUTED BY JOHN ANDREWS JONES.)
Referring the reader to my introduction but often excited the envy of some who have as in the last month's VESSEL, I proceed in made high pretentions to the sacred office. stating that John Keeble was called home The well-known occupation of the Lord Jesus, from earth to heaven in the month of April, gave great offence to his countrymen. They 1824, after being the faithful pastor of the said, “Whence hath this man this wisdom, Baptist church at Blandford-street, Portman- and these mighty works ? Is not this the square, for twenty-six years. His funeral carpenter's son ?" The palace and the cotsermon, preached by Mr. John Chin, late of tage have been the honoured birth-place of Walworth, is now before me. The text is most the Lord's servants. Fishermen have been significant Though I be nothiny.” 2 Cor. called, and made “fishers of men.” Not a xii. 2. “It was with difficulty he (Mr. few who have been engaged in the labour of Keeble) could be prevailed upon to select any husbandry, have been called to labour in the portion for the occasion ; but at last said, Lord's vineyard. Such was the occupation of well if you must have a text, take this, our departed brother Keeble ; for previous to “Though I be nothing.". I have only promis- his entering upon the public ministry, he ed the essence of Mr. Chin's important ser- never rose higher in society than a farmer's mon, descanting more particularly on him servant. Human prudence and sagacity are whose removal to his everlasting rest, occa- apt to dictate to Dívine wisdom in the choice sioned its being delivered.
of ministers; but, “the Lord seeth not as An unlettered man, scarcely able at one men seeth ; man looketh on the outward aptime to read at all, never able to spell, rude pearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." in speech, but not in knowledge; a 'scribe "God hath chosen the foolish things of the well instructed in the things of the kingdom world, to confound the wise; the weak things of God. His ministerial labours owned and of the world to confound the things which are blessed to hundreds of precious immortal mighty; and base things of the world, and souls, and whose memory is as fragrant as a things which are despised &c." Why? “That rose in June to this day.
no flesh should glory in his presence.” “Though I be nothing."
The qualifications also for the discharge of These were the words of the great Apostle the ministry are equally of the Lord. To be a of the Gentiles, expressive of the
mean opinion good minister of Christ, a man must be a pog. he had of himself, but whose ministry had been sessor of the grace of Christ. The husband. crowned with abundant success. Let us con
man that laboureth must be first a partaker of sider.
the fruits; and, of all the methods employed for 1. The inefficiency of all instruments, in conveying Divine instruction, nothing has and of themselves.
been so effectual as experimental preaching ; 2. Their selection and qualifications.
or, what our departed brother Keeble used to 3. The manner in which their duties are call, "internal work.” When the lips and discharged.
the heart of the preacher keep pace together, 4. The success attending their labours.
then by manifestation of the truth he comGod, in carrying on his work among men mends himself to every man's conscience in employs such instruments as makes all the the sight of God. What has so often fixed success to depend entirely on himself. And your attention under the ministry of your faithful ministers are like Paul, jealous of late pastor ? Was it the neatness of his style, their Master's honour; so that he that plan- and the eloquence of his oratory? Oh, no! it teth is nothing, neither he that watereth, was the importance of the truth he delivered, but God that giveth the increase, is all in all! and his just description of the workings and Death has deprived the church of the labours counter-workings of the human heart, under of Paul, and of Wickliffe, of the zeal of the influence of sin and grace. Like Paul, he Luther and Whitfield; and though John could accompany, and at times go beyond the Keeble can no longer edify this congregation, most elevated of his hearers ; with the afyet the cause of God and truth must advance. flicted and tempted he could sympathise; in Ordinary ministers continue not, by reason of patience and persevering supplication, he death, but Jesus Christ doth, 'who is the furnished a bright example; he knew same yesterday, to day, and for ever." The
him who had said, “Call upon me in the Lord will support his own cause by the ex
day of trouble, and I will answer thee." He ertion of his own power ; shewing his inde- preached Christ to others while he enjoyed pendence of man, and also convincing minis- him for himself. "He knew
whom he betors and others, that, " they are nothing." lieved;" but in all, his humble acknowledg. God also secures the glory of all the success
ment was, “I be nothing." attending a gospel ministry, by the sovereign But let us consider “the work” to which manner in which he selects and qualifies those they are called. It is to preach the glorious whom he employs in the work. The Lord's gospel of the blessed God, and the end to be acchosen instruments, have not only surprised, complished by their ministry, not a mere
VOL. XIV.-No. 160.
change of opinion in their hearers, and that it is only through God. Without the special within the sinner's power, but that a new birth influence of his Spirit, we can neither wound may be effected, a new creation, a resurrec- nor heal. And the more humble, devoted, tion from the dead in sins, a rescue from in- and useful a minister is, the more conscious fernal power, a translation from the kingdom he will be of his own insignificance; and of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear while he beholds the pleasure of the Lord Son. They are made stewards of the mani- prospering in his hand, will exclaim “'tis his fold grace of God, and are required to be work; I am nothing." found faithful. They have many temptations, These sentiments will receive a further illus. and are men of like passions with others; tration from a consideration of the life, minisbut, they obtain mercy of the Lord to be try, and dying experience, of our departed faithful.
brother Keeble: an account of which I shall The temptations of your late pastor were next month attempt to give you, with much frequent and very painful. He has often told plainness and all sincerity; and without any me how greatly he has been distressed for fear attempt to eulogize him, who is now merci. he should be confounded before the people; fully placed beyond the reach of praise or and, how he has employed the interval be- censure. I am perhaps the better furnished tween praying and preaching, in crying to for this service, in consequence of my wellGod, “Lord, help thy servant this once !'' known intimacy with him for many years. And, said he, « the Lord has been very Our acquaintance commenced in the days of kind, and often made these some of my his prosperity, and I knew his soul in adverchoicest seasons of personal comfort, enlarge- sity. Our confidence increased with our acment, and benefit to others. And then, I quaintance; and, when death came, our souls have been tempted to neglect due prepara. were not divided. Afliction somewhat intertion : but, we are not ignorant of Satan's de- rupted our personal communion, but an episvices.” Our brother experienced much kind- tolary correspondence supplied the deficiency. ness from many dear friends ; but his heart It is from this source that I have principally was pierced and wounded by the defection and derived my information. unkindness of others. It was this, or some. (To be continued in our next, which will thing like it, that caused your late respected contain Mr. Keeble's most truly interesting pastor, a few days before his death, when Memoir, with some valuable additions.) looking down on his afflicted limbs, and laying his hands on his bosom, the principal seat of anguish, to say, “A man may sustain his infirmities, but a wounded spirit who can
EPISTLES TO THEOPHILUS. bear
But these trials drive the man to God for supporting grace, and constrain him to acknowledge
“as we have received mercy, we faint not."
My Good THEOPHILUS, I now make a few We proceed to observe that the success that remarks, (and they will be but few,) upon the has attended ministerial labours, proves that resurrection and destiny of the lost; that " the excellency of the power is of God." the just, as well as the unjust; the wicked, as How different have been the effects produced, well as the righteous; the hated, as well by the preaching of the same gospel at diff- as the loved ; will be raised from the dead. erent times! In some cases much good has We know, from express declaration of Holy been done in a short time; in others an Scriptures, that there will be a resurrection of amount of labour has been expended, and the just and of the unjust; but with what little or no apparent fruit has been brought body the unjust will rise is nowhere clearly to perfection. Isaiah anxiously enquired, revealed. Some, it is true, have by con.
Who hath believed our report, and to whom trasting the resurrection body of the unjust is the arm of the Lord revealed " Our glo- with the just, endeavoured to give us a fair rious Redeemer, who spake as never man idea of the resurrection body of the unjust; spake! still, his faithful followers were com- but the contrast, does not in some very maparatively few; while under a single sermon terial points, hold good; for if we say the one delivered by Peter, three thousand souls is as the glorious body of the Saviour, then, were converted. So also in this place; the where is the contrast here? for although the gospel has been preached in its purity, and unjust are spoken of as the children of the with no small ability too, even from its first wicked one, yet satan has not a material body, erection, and yet but little good appeared to therefore they cannot in this material respect, attend the ministry here, for some years, so be like him. that when our brother Keeble first came to Again, the just are to be raised immortal, Blandford-street, the things that remained were but will the unjust be raised mortal! Will ready to die ; but-by his plain and humble they not rather be raised in the same kind of ministry God wrought powerfully. Hun- durable existence as that possessed by satan? dreds have been savingly converted"; and, for Yet there can be no doubt but the just and many years there was as much union, Christ- the unjust will, in very many respects, perian affection, and spiritual prosperity, as have fectly contrast with each other. The terms been enjoyed by any Christian society in fox, wolf, serpent, viper, with many other terms our day, so that of this church it has often of the like import, no 'doubt, most solemnly been said, “what hath God wrought?” If the indicate the state of most awful degradation in weapons of our warfare are made powerful which they shall rise ; each feeling himself to
be all that which is implied in such terms;, Thus it is that he hath mercy upon whom he not one of them all will then be able to con- will have mercy. He wills one by the gratulate himself upon the possession of one Saviour's meditorial work to life; the other good quality, yet possessing a soul capable of he wills by the law for his sin to degradation. seeing, and feeling, the full force of such Thus, my good Theophilus, you cannot degradation. Alas! for poor, degraded, lost, rightly respect the blessed God in any of his and miserable man. Truly the judgments of perfections, unless you, first of all respect his the Most High are a great deep. I sigh as authority, cavil at his sovereignty, and all I write these gloomy lines, and, but for the pretences to be holy and righteous will amount humble hope, my good Theophilus, which we only to a little show before men, but in vain have in covenant mercy in Christ, I am sure will you try to please God, all the time human that you with me, would wish you had never sovereignty is put in the place of his existed; it would, indeed, have been good for sovereignty. Let us then tremble, and not that man who dies in his sins, if he had never trifle with his holy word : let his sovereignty been born.
as well as his justice be known in condemnaNow the wicked will be raised by virtue of tion, and it will soon exclude boasting, and their accountability to God, and I hope in my make us fly to the word of his grace for mercy next letter to set this matter of human and and for hope. Christian accountability to God somewhat Nor will the hell of the lost be temporary; clearly before you.
would to God it were; gladly would I sound I will here just suggest that there are three abroad, the doctrine of a quenchable fire ; causes of a sinner's condemnation.
gladly would I hail the news, that the 1. The criminal cause. This criminal cause punishment is not everlasting; that their toris two-fold: original and personal. 1st. The ment is not for ever and ever; that that mys. original is Adam's transgression; by which terious thing, the worm, does die. Alas! transgression judgment came upon all men to what is this mystic worm ? 'is it the conscience ? condemnation. 2nd. The personal. This will or, what is it, for it dieth not? Some do say, mean all sins against light and knowledge.
the punishment is not everlasting; that the II. There is the legal cause of condemna worm will die ; that the torment is not for ever tion. The righteous law of God is the legal and ever; but that these Scriptures ought to cause of condemnation; and from the laws, (all be understood in subservience to such Scripthe laws of God, arise more from sovereignty, tures that say, that the wicked shall be burn. than what men are pleased to call his moral ed up as chaff. But I fear the figurative must perfections; any deviation, therefore, from those be subservient to the plain and literal, and laws, is a sin against his authority, and not the plain and literal subservient to the is therefore, a sin against all his other per
figurative: everlasting punishment-torment. fections; and this is the reason that he that ed for ever and ever--the fire not quenched, offendeth in one point is guilty of the whole." and the worm dying not, are terms, which, I Because all laws arise from his authority, and fear, must have their full absolute force and they are holy, chiefly because of this. For meaning. And, beside, those who contend for what a number of things have the people of a limited duration of punishment, or a second God done that were holy, simply because they death, or annihilation by a fiery process, these were done by Divine authority. Take as à admit that the unjust will have a future exsample the wars of the Jews with the Canaan istence. Is not this admission fatal to the ites; these wars, without Divine authority, whole plan of the annihilation scheme; for, would have been wholesale murder. But if they can exist at all in eternity, apart Divine authority precluded all fault on the from eternal life in Christ; if they can exist part of those chosen ministers of Divine at all in eternity, why not that existence be judgments. Many of the Psalms of David, as likely to be two thousand years as one apart from Divine authority, would be any
thousand years and if two thousand years, thing but holy. What could be more why may it not be ten thousand years ? and if unhallowed than merely on human authority ten thousand years, why not for ever? and I for one man to say of the little children of greatly fear it is so I believe it is so: another man
happy shall he be that taketh and I must leave this awful and infinite and dasheth thy little ones against the stones p" mystery with him to whom secret things But before God here existed a criminal and a belong, and while, on the one hand, I will not legal cause, and his righteous authority is speak reproachfully of those who conscienshewn in carrying out penally the law, which tiously hold to the doctrine of the final cessahe, not of necessity, but sovereignly, gave.
tion of the existence of the lost, yet, on the Then there is also the erecutive cause of other hand, I do not feel that I dare to deny condemnation. The will of God is the execu- the eternity of future punishment. Thrice tive cause of condemnation. Take it thus : happy, indeed, is that man who is delivered here is a man condemned to die, now his crime from this mysterious second death, this unis the faulty, the criminal cause of that quenchable wrath to come! sentence. The law of the land is the legal My good Theophilus, I have written this cause ; but now comes the will of the mon- short letter with a heavy heart, but still it is arch. Shall the man live or shall he not? Now good sometimes, at least, to go to the house this will help you to see what I mean. Here of mourning, but if it make me heavy hearted is the sinner under sentence of death ; " dying and gloomy in writing it, and you in reading thou shalt die." Now it lies with the Lord it, what must the awful reality be ? We to say whether or not that man shall die. may well beseech the Lord to “teach us to num. ber our days, that we may apply our hearts | faith and love to Christ; and under all the unto wisdom;” and our days are not so many laws and precepts of gospel life and liberty; but that they are easily numbered and are and we love the Lord God with all our heart soon gone, and we soon fly away. Alas ! then, and mind, and strength; but it is not by the for all things under the sun! Vanity of va- law of wrath that we love God, but by the nities, all is vanity, saith the Preacher," and law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and not able to supply the real needs, even, of
A LITTLE ONE.
that the righteousness of the law is in the spirit of it fulfilled in us who walk by faith
in the truth; all other paths but that of the THE REIGN OF GRACE :
truth, are after the flesh. ANSWER TO THE INQUIRY,
Sin, therefore, shal Inot, while Jesus lives, "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ROMANS VI. 14 p" have penal dominion over the true believer,
for he is under grace.
The wbole work and Dear MR. EDITOR.-As I very much like purpose of grace is to save, and not destroy, the spirit of the inquiry on the 147th page
Secondly, enmity; enmity is the sin that of the June number of the Vessel, I will distinguishes the carnal mind from_the ask your permission to take some little notice spiritual. The third chapter of the First of this important inquiry; not, Mr. Editor, Epistle of John, describes the wicked and the that I for a moment deem either yourself or
righteous by the two opposite qualities of love Mr. Meekins, who sends the inquiry, at all and enmity nor can that chapter be rightly incompetent to clear up the question; and understood in any other way. The sin there that, too, much better than I can do. 'Still, spoken of, which proves a man to be of the if I come with my views to the light, I shall
, devil, is the sin of enmity against the truth; where I err, have the privilege of being cor.
and the righteousness there spoken of means
Abel loved the rected by you ; I, therefore, leave my mind a life of love to the truth. open to conviction wherever I may be wrong.
truth, and Cain bated the truth ; one shewed Mr. Meekins puts the inquiry into a two- practically his love to the truth, the other fold form : namely,
shewed practically bis hatred to the truth. First, Does sin have dominion over the The one was not under the law, but under open backslider ? Does sin have dominion grace; and this grace brought into Abel's over such an one in the sense intended by the heart a knowledge of, faith in, and love to, Apostle? This is the first part of the in the truth. Whereas Cain being under the quiry.
law, the law worked wrath in him, and he The second part of Mr. Meekins's inquiry
burned with fiery enmity against the truth; is, is there not a difference between a partial fess free-grace, they, profess to believe in
as thousands of professors now do, they proand an absolute dominion ? Now this last part of the inquiry is a well suggested reply God's truth, or what they call extremes;
Jesus Christ, but their careful avoidance of to the first part of the inquiry.
And I think the matter may be made their cold-hearted distance from the bill somewhat clear by noticing the four-fold country of sovereign truth, shows that they sense in which sin shall not have dominion are still in heart under the law; they have over the true believer.
their eyes full of the false church, and canFirst, penally; it shall not have condemn- not cease from the sin of enmity against the ing power over him, for “there is no con
truth, they cannot, that is, they have no will demnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,"
to cease from enmity against the truth; Day, for all that are planted together in the like they even think they do God service in ness of his death, rise by faith into the like- putting down all they can the new covenant
order of certain salvation. Now this sin of ness of his resurrection; and these walk by faith, and this walking by faith is what the enmity shall not have dominion over them Apostle calls walking after the Spirit. Now who are not under the law, but under grace. it is impossible to lay too much stress upon
The law of God, the blood of the everlasting our completeness in him, for he hath by his covenant, and the spirit of grace, are ever one offering perfected for ever all them who dear to them who are under grace. The sin were sanctified by God the Father, preserved to make them hate the Son of God in his
of enmity shall not have dominion orer them, in Christ Jesus, and called. They are no eternal oneness which he has with his Father more under the law than the surviving The sin of enmity shall not have dominion widow is under the law of her deceased hus. over them, to make them lightly esteem, band. We respect the law, and consent that it is holy, just, and good ; but holy, just, and much less make them count unclean) the good as it is, we are not under it, for, saith of enmity shall not have dominion over
blood of the everlasting covenant. The sin the Apostle, Ye are not under the law, but them, to make them blaspheme the Holy under grace." What, then, are we without law to God? end of bis journey shall say, “I bave stuck
Spirit of Heavenly grace; but each, at the No, we are not, for we are under the law of
unto thy testimonies." To this sin of
enmity they are dead, and cannot go on in the truth, for so I understand it), my soul hatred to the truth that grace may abound; (saith the Lord) shall have no pleasure in God forbid, for how can we that are dead to him ;” “but (saith the Apostle,) we are not of enmity live any longer therein; we are dead them who draw back unto perdition, but of with Christ, and we are to reckon ourselves them that believe to the saving of the soul.” to be dead indeed unto sin; that is, that Thus, then, to draw back unto perdition is Christ is our death unto sin, for sin can die to draw back from the faith, from the truth, nowhere but at the end of the law, “For from the love of the truth, into enmity the law is the strength of sin, but Christ is against the truth. But can the true, wellthe end of the law for righteousness ;” and established Christian thus draw back ? Draw there it is that sin is dead.
back from tribulation he may, saying, “If it The members of the body are called in- be possible, let this cup pass from me.” struments. The learned show us, that the Draw back from shewing that kindness to word instruments in the original conveys a the cause of God which be ought to show military idea ; so that, as when we hated he may; and also a great many do in this the truth, we fought against it; but now sense draw back from that practical devotedthat we love the truth, we are to contend for ness to God so desirable ;
and it: we are to "fight the good fight of faith.” who that knows his own heart has not much Thus, then, sin penally, nor sin essentially, in this department to lament? shall have dominion over you; for ye are not under a law that condemns, but under a law iiever's advantages, and prevent his receiving
Now these are great drawbacks to the bethat justifies. Justified freely by his grace, and ye are not under a law that worketh a full reward of the things he has wrought; wrath ; but under that grace which in solemn do not constitute crucifying the Son of God
but even these drawbacks, bad as they are, oath declares will never be wrath with us, afresh. These, then, I say, do not constitute nor rebuke us, nor depart from us.
drawing back unto perdition, for then not I now come to the third part of my answer one soul would be saved; for if we drawback to the inquiry; and I at once confess that from the truth, we must be lost. Yr. Meekins's backslider is under sin in one Now, whether Mr. Meekins's backslider, as of the respects the Apostle intends ; for the he calls him, be a brother at all, though a disorwhole drift of this sixth chapter to the derly one, I must leave to Him who knoweth Romans, shows how the Apostle would have the hearts of men, and is Judge of all
. us yield ourselves up unto God; and he One thing I know is that the declaration, would have us consecrated wholly, body, life, “Sin shall not have dominion over you," and spirit, unto God; and the Apostle will be fulfilled in perfection not until the thanks God that they had obeyed from the last great rising day. Then, and not till then heart that form of doctrine which was de- sin will lose, for ever, its last hold of us; for, livered unto them. “God be thanked (that although those who are born of God do upon ye were the servants of sin, but) ye have the whole so live to God as to prove the sin. obeyed from the heart that form (that is, cerity of their love to him, and are free enough that order) of doctrine delivered unto you." from sin to serve God, though with much in
Now mind it does not say sin shall have firmity, yet they are his servants, and they no dominion over you, but simply that "sin have their fruit unto holiness, and the end shall not have dominion over you;" there, everlasting life. Now, mind, they have their therefore, clearly is a difference between á fruit unto holiness. Now look well here to partial and an absolute dominion; and also, the meaning, which is this, that as when the there is a difference between an essential and Israelites abode by the one true God, their a circumstantial dominion: there is a sin land yielded her increase, so that they had unto death, and there is a sin not unto death. abundant fruits for thank offerings unto the The sin unto death is that of enmity against Lord, and thus they honoured the Lord the truth; the sins not unto death, are such with their substance, and with the first-fruits as are recorded in the Bible of Noah, Moses, of all their increase ; thus, they had fruit David, Hezekiah, and Peter, and of many of unto holiness, that is, un to God; and so spi. the Corinthians and others. None of these ritually in abiding by the truth, the land of sinned from enmity to the truth, nor pre- truth yields her increase, and we have much sumptuously " that grace may abound;" nor to praise the Lord for, and the end of this because they were not under the law, but service of God is everlasting life. This is under grace."
that hope that maketh not ashamed, because I hardly know what Mr. Meeking means the love of God is shed abroad in our by a backslider. A backslider, in the biblical hearts. sense of the word, is one who turns away But while that through grace we thus from, and goes back from the truth; but I serve God, does sin throw no hindrances in suppose Mr. Meekins does not look to the our way ? is there no law in the members biblical sense of the word backslide, but only warring against the law of our mind ? do we the customary sense attached by man to that not in any sense serve sin, and even when word. "Now if any man draw back (from the spirit is willing, has the filesh no weak